One of the core objectives of IPRT’s advocacy work is to ensure that prison is used as a sanction of last resort. Even short periods of imprisonment can have long-term, damaging effects, including disruption to family life, loss of employment and access to services, and an increased risk of institutionalisation as a result of the prison environment.
Within this context, IPRT believes the promotion, and effective delivery of alternatives to custody, extended nationwide, should remain a key priority for the Probation Service in the period of 2018-2020. The Probation Service plays a vital role in reducing the prison population and providing individuals with opportunities to contribute to society in a meaningful way.
IPRT believes that the following should be the key priorities for the Probation Service Strategic Plan 2018-2020:
- Promote, increase and extend the delivery of effective, direct alternatives to custody
- Increase focus towards prioritising reintegration in its work
- Deepen understanding about the work of the Probation Service with key stakeholders
- Continue and increase the monitoring, evaluation and publication of relevant data and research to support evidence-informed policies
- Focus on alternative options for offenders with substance misuse issues
- Adopt and tailor programmes to specific cohorts (e.g. women, young people) with a view to rolling these out at a national level
- Enhance governance and accountability structures within the Probation Service
- Further strengthen relationships with other criminal justice bodies and external bodies (including housing, education and employment) and build inter-agency co-operation and capacity.
To read our full submission to inform the role and priorities of the Probation Service Strategic Plan 2018-2020, click here.